Deb SchwartzkopfSeattle, Washington

Red Lodge Clay Center – Short-Term Resident (AIA) 2018

Deb Schwartzkopf has worked in clay for over 20 years. After receiving an MFA from Penn State in 2005, Deb Schwartzkopf taught at OU, Mass. College of Art & Design, UW, as well as for the University of Georgia’s study abroad program in Cortona, Italy.  She participated in residencies at the Archie Bray Foundation (MT), Mudflat Studios (MA), the Clay Studio (PA), Watershed (ME), Red Lodge Clay Studio (MT), the Ceramics Workcenter in Berlin, Germany, and San Boa in Jingdezhen China! Deb teaches and exhibits nationally and internationally. Deb established Rat City Studios where her mission is to engage and build community through clay – one person, one neighborhood, and one experience at a time. In service to this pursuit, she offers studio assistant positions, teaches, and maintains a lively career in the ceramic arts! Ceramics Monthly Magazine awarded Deborah Schwartzkopf Ceramic Artist of the Year for 2019. Published in June 2020, Creative Pottery features 192 pages of clay working techniques.

As a studio artist my goal is to make fabulous tableware that infuses life with purposeful beauty.  As an active community member and instructor I use my unique skill set, as an artist and small business owner, to offer educational opportunities. Through clay, I create pathways to cross-pollinate communities.

In order to make pottery I must approach the clay with openness and practiced skill, with a clear idea and playful intuition.  My studio practice is a constant cycle referring to itself in the way I draw from my own processes and from my approach to problem solving.  I also look farther afield, drinking in the many details of the world around me. I am a sponge for nuances of color placement in birds and how shadows break up forms and cause me to notice them anew. I am always seeking and asking myself, “How does this cup feel when held? Where will this pitcher live?  What am I communicating with this line or volume?”  As I spend hours in my studio working away, my mind blends and refracts the interests I research and the circling, recurring questions.  I love the stillness and intensity of my studio practice in which I am free to listen, to move clay, to invent… My studio practice feeds me.  I am fulfilled building my community through teaching workshops, trading eggs with neighbors, and spending time with friends and family. I am busy like a bee tending to the details of life, keeping up with my many hobbies, keeping my studio practice vibrate, promoting my career, mentoring in the studio, gardening and occasionally tinking away on my banjo. This constant motion feeds my energy and excitement for life, which I strive to capture in the forms and surfaces of my pottery.